Great Weekend of Golf!

OK, back behind the computer screen.  Had a great weekend up in Pawley’s Island with a terrific bunch of guys.  We got deluged with rain on Friday afternoon at The Heritage Club, but also had plenty of laughs and the staff at the club was terrific and we all made the best of a bad situation.  Good golf course, but those greens are just a bit tough for a low country golfer!

Saturday, we played TPC at Myrtle Beach.  What a fantastic track!  Just another great Fazio design.  The rains came hard on  the front nine, and was then off and on for the next 3 hours….  We were back and forth from golf course to club house.  A few guys left, but most hung on and we eventually finished 18 holes in about 7 hours…. For me, it was well worth the wait.  One of the great courses I’ve played (shooting 71 always helps on one’s opinion of a golf course!).  Seriously,  Fazio designs courses that fit my eye.  I love the challenges (and believe me, this is not an easy golf course, especially after 3+ inches of rain!) he presents without making a hole “all or nothing”.  
As wiped out as most of us were,  we still had 5 hours of daylight left, so 10 went on to play Willbrook CC.  Fun golf course.  Not on the same level as TPC, but solid, good golf holes and the course was in really good shape considering…  Probably best of all, we played fast!  Under 3 1/2 hours, and if you’ve ever been to Myrtle, you know how refreshing that can be!
Pet peeve:  Playing a new golf course and choosing the wrong aim line.  Nothing rattles me quite like hitting a seemingly perfect shot only to find out your screwed!  I hear the argument that it’s the architects defense of the course, etc… .but I just don’t buy it.  Why?  Because that defense is gone the next time you play it!  Golf pro’s never face that, simply because they play practice rounds.  I’m not complaining about the course, just saying that being penalized simply because you you were deceived by hills, etc, is frustrating (isn’t golf tough enough?)
So Sunday we played True Blue.  Wow!  Unique is an understatement.  A Strantz design that does not disappoint!  There’s no doubt that he was an artist first and foremost.  I sense that his courses are caricatures of traditional courses.  Great fun and the greens were just great!
Guess I’m making up for lost blogging here, but I’ll finish again by saying how great it’s been to do these trips with the guys from Snee Farm, and the many guests that have joined us.  Couldn’t ask for a better group.  Seriously,  golf for me is really about fun and hanging out with the guys (and girls!  My favorite playing partner is my wife!).  I’m competitive, don’t get me wrong, but I really appreciate having a fun competition where the prizes are secondary to a good time.  
Enough!  How about that PGA Championship finish?  Crazy!  More on that later.  Done.  

Goal Oriented

I’m very goal oriented.  It’s a fantastic motivator.  I try to set goals that are hard to reach, but not impossible.  I like the idea of “shooting for the stars, and if you miss….  you’ll still reach the moon!”

I bring this up because about 60 blog entries ago I told my wife that I would blog 100 days in a row before I began to space them out!  Just realized that I’m going to be without a computer for the next two days while up on a TRAVEL WITH THE PRO golf trip up in Pawleys Island and won’t be able to blog (most likely). 

I have currently blogged for 92 straight days.  So close!  Talk to you next week. 

More on “Feel”

Let me clarify my thoughts on feel.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t feel.  I’m saying: 

1.  You shouldn’t rely on other peoples feel and
2.  You should trust physics first, and your feel second
Basically,
I believe that on your good shots you should definitely be saying,
“hmmm, what did that feel like?” and you should come up with some
answers if you would like.  
What I don’t think is helpful is telling others what you
feel.  I’m sure I often do, but mostly you’ll find that I try to give
observations, I attempt to nudge golfers towards what they want to do,
and I always try to allow golfers to learn on their own!  I want
golfers saying to themselves:  “What did that shot tell me?”  “What can
I learn from that shot?”
I want golfers to
KNOW and BELIEVE that there are no mysteries to a golf swing!  Every
shot clearly tells you what happened!  NOW try to do what you want to
do on the next swing!!!

Feel is too personal
for outside consumption.  I also believe that FEELING my great shots
before I experience them in reality is one of the reasons that I’m (not
to sound too arrogant) pretty good. 

Don’t Trust What You Feel

I don’t trust what others feel.  Heck, I’ve learned to not even trust
what I feel to a large degree!!  You see, I trust physics.  I trust the
laws of ball flight.  

Golfers just go gaga when
they here a better player talk about what they feel.  They hang on
every word and work tirelessly (for a couple of minutes or days) trying
to feel what the great ones felt.  It pretty much never works.
Here’s
the simplest way to show that feel is not something we should be
relying on:  Has anyone ever looked at their swing for the first time
on video and said, “that’s exactly what I thought my swing looked like!”
Even
Jack Nicklaus was off on what he “felt” compared to what his swing
actually looked like!  What that means is that our feel can be
extremely mis-leading!!!
Good news:  “PHYSICS
‘DON’T’ LIE” (say it with an Arkansas accent).  I’m here to tell you
that you can learn much faster if you give up trying to feel and
micromanage your swing!  You can learn much faster if you simply
recognize how you struck the shot and where it went!  You can learn
exponentially faster if you PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FINISH!  Are you
fully turned?  Relaxed? Balanced?   If not…. GET BETTER AT THAT
FIRST!  

I like what Jeanne-Marie Busuttil said to me once:  “You can video my swing, but just don’t show it to me!”

Bottom Line:  Trying to borrow a feel from someone else (who’s feel might be very helpful personally even though it is not accurate with their actual swing) is usually not a great idea.  TRUST PHYSICS! 

Carolina Colours

Hole #2 at Carolina Colours.  Par 3  172yds from the Championship Tees
To
the right side of this picture you get a glimpse of the “native
grasses” that are featured throughout the course.  It shouldn’t come in
to play on this par three, but believe me, you want to avoid those
areas on any and every hole!  

Tiger Woods

Just kidding.  I’m not going to comment on Tiger.  I’ll let the rest of the world make predictions and judge him….

PGA Championship is this week, then it’s on to the FedEx Cup.  I really think it’s fantastic to have this playoff at the *end of the season.  I hope that in years to come, we’ll look back on the FedEx Cup  Champions with the respect we reserve for major champions.  I believe they deserve it!
*After the FedEx Cup wraps up the PGA still has several more tournaments in the fall.  These tournaments are very important to those professionals trying to finish with certain exemptions for 2011.  

Form Follows Function

The great pitfall of golfers is trying to over think the moving parts of the golf swing.  It’s the hardest way to learn!  Understand the TASK (function) and let the body respond….  Your form will follow.  Think about how we learn to tie our shoes, ride a bike, or drive a car.  The task is to make loops and make knots.  The body responds by moving the hands in a particular way (can you imagine if you had to learn the mechanics of this motion consciously?) and as you train,  your form improves!

Same with riding a bike, or typing!  The mechanics of motion respond to the task you want to perform!

The real reason we get stuck in golf is that universally, the TASK is wrong!  Most all golfers are trying to STRIKE a ball, or STEER/GUIDE a ball….  Your body responds perfectly to this task… The result is a FORM that is a bit messy!!!! 

The TASK should be to THROW the club through the ball so the ball can fly out to the target!  Form will follow (read: better mechanics) if one would just give themselves the time to develop. 

Go PLAY GOLF.  Stop THINKING golf swing.

DRIVER DRILL TOURNAMENT!

Congratulations to all that played in the DRIVER DRILL TOURNAMENT yesterday!  Great stuff.  Andy, Meredith, and Cynthia set a new tournament record!!!

I appreciate all the work you put into your golf, it makes my job extremely rewarding.   Makes me proud! 

Playing golf in the GRAVITY DRILLS is a crazy experience that can be incredibly enlightening!  There is truly something different about being on a golf course, and the drills will teach you that STEERING, GUIDING, STRIKING will never work with any kind of consistency!  If done regularly on the course, you will learn to swing with GRAVITY and ROTATION, and soon be able to bring your range game to the course! 

So if you felt incredibly strange on the course in the drills, it’s simply telling you that you use a different system to PLAY than you do to TRAIN…. (I know I did!)  After a few more rounds (and a bucket load of more training on the range) in the drills, you’ll be able to feel the GRAVITY SWING works it’s way into your brain and swing!  If you can figure out how to make a free, uninhibited swing on the course, it’s can be one of the truly great rewards in life!

Pre-Shot Routine, Part IV

Each step builds upon the last.  Each word gets you deeper into focus and concentration… Each phrase erases doubt!
So you’ve observed your situation and decided on the shot.  See it is the first major word in the routine….  See the shot, see the flight, see the swing… You’re mind’s eye has a clear picture of the shot you expect to produce.  
The next step in the routine is to FEEL IT!  Experience the shot before you execute.  You choose whether that will be a full practice swing, or a small rehearsal swing.  You choose if it will be an exaggeration of a move you wish to make, or maybe just a “trigger” move that puts you in a powerful frame of mind.  
FEEL the shot you are about to hit.  You can FEEL it from behind the ball, or from the side of the ball.  You can FEEL it by overdoing something you are trying to change, or by taking just a small portion of the swing (for example:  FEEL impact with a small motion through the hitting area).  You can FEEL the shot by simply making a trigger move which is an association with a great shot.  Opening and Closing the Velcro latch of your glove is an example….  You see, some great players create a positive reference after each great shot they hit.  After every great shot, they make the trigger move…. After a while, they can just do the trigger move and the body “experiences” the great shot!!!  It’s what I do and it really helps me build confidence!  By focusing far more on the good shots than the bad, I am working on the better side of mental.  My brain stores more memories of the good than the bad because I anchor the great shots and marginalize the bad shots… 
So after you SEE IT,  you FEEL IT as you approach the ball.  It’s a powerful thing.  Eventually, as you SEE IT, you’ll also FEEL IT…. As you FEEL IT, you also SEE IT… This routine has a great way of helping you OBSESS about what you want to do!